Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bush is a Book Lover?

Check it out:

In a column in the Wall Street Journal the other day, Bush's bud Karl Rove wrote that President Bush read 95 books in 2006, 51 in 2007, and 40 in 2008. In fact, he said he would have read more except that he was busy being Leader of the Free World. And, no, these books were not just A Cricket in Times Square. They include books such as David Halberstam's 736-page The Coldest Winter and Stephen Sears' 640-page Gettysburg.

As Nicky knows from my stomping, yelling and screaming during breakfast yesterday when I read this crock, reading this much is simply IMPOSSIBLE. I'm not questioning his comprehension or ability -- although I certainly could if I were not taking the high road here. I am questioning the number of hours in the day and year that a person with a job and a well-known penchant for a good night's sleep can devote to reading.

I think I would know, too. I LOVE to read. But I have a busy job and enjoy a good night's sleep too. Yes, you say, but, unlike Bush, I am also responsible for shopping, cleaning, cooking and paying bills. True, I say, but he also really is the Leader of the Free World. Doesn't that take time?

How much do I read? Actually, I can answer that. I have been keeping track since 2002. This was not because of a competition a la Bush vs. Rove, but rather because I had a tendency to check books out of the library not realizing that I had previously read them.

2006: Bush 95 Bonnie 24; Although I must add that I read Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series, 6 books ranging from 627 to 1070 pages each.

2007: Bush 51 Bonnie 22

2008: Bush 40 Bonnie 16; (I re-read the Outlander series. Would strongly recommend it.)

Well, you say, maybe he has time to read books because he doesn't read 3 newspapers every day like I do. He has previously admitted to not reading newspapers. He relies on his staff to give him the news because he thinks it is more objective. Like whether or not weapons of mass destruction exist. Whatever. But that takes time, too; doesn't it? Or is he reading his books while the news is being downloaded to him by his aides? That image of him multitasking is too scary to even contemplate, although I pretty much envisioned it after the 2002 election ...

Sorry about that digression. High road here....

My point is that it is impossible for him to do his job and read all those books.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Pastry Chef

Christmas this year was cold and rainy here in Sunny Southern California. A perfect day for staying home in the kitchen to prepare a gourmet dinner: 1) for Uncle Michael who missed Thanksgiving due to not feeling well and 2) for Manny to celebrate a hearty Christmas. The first thing I did --before tackling the stuffing (not easy with a broken food processor) and the turkey (never easy to remove the stupid frozen wire), was to bake a cake. Motivated by Bobby Flay's red velvet cake throwdown and the Cakery Bakery's Buche de Noel which I had purchased for our Alliance Francaise holiday fete, I composed a Moura Secret Family Recipe Red Velvet Cake. Here I am with the finished product. Needless to say, it was delicieux. Oh, and please don't let on about the Moura Secret Family Recipe Cream Cheese Frosting.

While on the subject of gourmet pastries, I will also boast about my Grape Pie. Concord grapes are extremely difficult to find here in SoCal. They have to be imported from Back East. I only found them once this year at Whole Foods. With apologies to the Locavore movement, with whom I completely agree, I bought them and concocted the pie. Even mon ami the French baker asked for the recipe. Note to all: he said he would have put a layer of creme under the grapes. But we all thought it was delectable as is.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Any Lives Left?

As many of you know, my cat -- Boots, My Man -- was the victim of a vicious unprovoked coyote attack last November. We almost lost poor Bootsy. Lucky for him, he used up most of his remaining lives and pulled through. We are very grateful to our skilled vet, Dr. Lucero, who placed drains throughout Bootsy's abdomen, and commended him on being such a strong and brave cat. Dr. Lucero was pretty sure, in fact, that the coyote had not fared as well in the claws of Boots. Here are some recent photos of Boots. You can see that he has regained the weight he lost and is now again obese. (Because he bites my ankles, and then I feed him. As I told the vet, it's survival of the fittest.) He is no longer allowed to wander any further than 1) the balcony and 2) the roof, where you can see him peering through the window, having just remembered that it's time to come in and eat again.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Paul's Graduation

Here is the schedule he sent me:

Friday, April 25th
3:10 PM - 4:30 PM: History Graduation Ceremony, MLB Aud 3
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM: LSA Scholarship Reception, Michigan Union U-Club

Saturday, April 26th
7:00 AM - 8:00 AM: Guests Arrive on Diag
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM: Students Arrive at Start Point
10:00 AM: Commencement Ceremony Begins
5:00 PM: Paul gets kicked out of his apartment and becomes a homeless college graduate.

That's my son!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Walking the Dog

Rowlf never got trained very well. He got kicked out of The Dog Whisperer's obedience class for being disobedient. Nicky tried to train him by reasoning with him. Manny tried to train him by threatening violence. Poor Rowlf. And now that Nicky's off to college, Rowlf is despondent. So we decided to go for a hike with him yesterday on the Arroyo Seco Trail above JPL. There were signs all over the place with a little icon of a dog walker, a dog, and a leash tethering them together. We got the message. Plus, we don't totally trust Rowlf off leash. I should reword that: we don't trust what strangers would do if Rowlf were off leash. Rowlf is actually just trying to be friendly, but sometimes strangers don't get it when a 76-pound energetic shepherd mix comes bounding up to them to say hello. We met one woman on the trail who convinced us to "liberate" Rowlf from his leash to play with her 8-month old shepherd/boxer mix. Rowlf, after asserting dominance in the usual doggy way, was in doggie heaven. But a pebble in his paw sent us on our way downhill, and he was back on leash. Thinking he could then say, "Hi!" to any other dog he met, we ran into a small Chihuahua-looking thing, on leash, walking with his owners. Rowlf was just SO excited to see this little friend that he strained and -- omigod -- slipped out of his collar! Little Pepe's owners freaked as Rowlf ran over to greet their diminutive pup. They pulled up on the leash, and the next thing we knew Pepe was flying off the ground, swinging around by the neck, looking like something out of The Exorcist. Luckily, we grabbed Rowlf before Pepe could be decapitated. I mean, really, what did the owners think Rowlf would have done? Sniffed their dog to death? That little protective maneuver could have injured the poor thing, or worse. And Rowlf doesn't understand the mixed messages about which dogs he can play with and which ones he can't. Neither do I, actually. I'll attach some photos showing how "well-behaved" Rowlf was on the hike.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Photos From London

Broken clavicle aside (OK -- the truth: he did it skydiving), Ashton, Mana & I had a very nice Presidents' Day long weekend in London.
#1: Mana & Ashton being photogenic.
#2: Me & Ashton at the Tower of London.
#3: Ashton en route to Hogwart's, leaving from Kings Cross Station, Platform 9 3/4.
#4: Wedding celebration in front of Buckingham Palace. I took pictures of the photographers taking pictures. It was picturesque.
#5: Me & Ashton beside the river Thames, Big Ben in the background.
#6: Visiting with the Royal Family. They seemed respectable, but weren't much for conversation.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Application Season

OK, that's it; I have had it with 1) worthless speculation on who is going to be elected President and 2) applications to college/law school/medical school. Why is it that the schools to which my kids are applying want to know the minutest details of their short educational careers, yet applicants for Leader of the Free World don't have to submit a personal statement, transcripts or standardized test scores? Is this a double standard or what? Furthermore, the candidates will not even disclose their LSAT scores! Why not? Do they have something to hide? What about their transcripts? Don't we want to know if they (i.e., GW) failed American history? These candidates are in front of the cameras 24/7 expounding on their virtues, but they won't give us the facts. My suggestion: Either change college/medical/law/vet school admissions to a popular election or require that the candidates submit their test scores. Hillary, Barack, John, John, Mitt, Huck, what do you have to say?